Senator Win Gatchalian said he expects the number in renewable energy (RE) investments to rise substantially following a Department of Justice (DOJ) opinion that natural resources including solar, wind, hydro and ocean or tidal energies are not covered by the constitutional limitation on foreign ownership. The flow of investments is hinged on amending the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act No. 9513 or the Renewable Energy Act of 2008.
“The removal of the 40% foreign ownership cap is a game changer. This puts the country on the right path of creating an investment climate that would enhance the establishment of more renewable energy facilities amid global efforts to address climate change and ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine,” Gatchalian said.
He emphasized that wider adoption of RE in the country could progressively bring down power rates for the benefit of consumers and create more jobs within the communities concerned.
According to Gatchalian, who is the vice chair of the Senate Committee on Energy, the absence of foreign ownership limitation on RE facilities augurs well with a recent decision of the energy department to increase the percentage of RE utilization for on-grid areas from 1% to 2.52% and in line with the DOE’s vision of powering up communities with clean and sustainable energy systems. The increase to 2.52% shall take effect in 2023.
He said the increase would also help the country lessen its dependence on energy derived from fossil fuel and coal-based power plants. To date, a total of 998 RE contracts, generating around Php270 billions of investments have been approved by DOE. Such contracts have an aggregate installed capacity of 5460 megawatts (MW) and a potential capacity of 61,613.81MW.
According to Gatchalian, any increase in the use of RE could also enhance the development of other renewable energy sources that are yet to be harnessed in the country such as the ocean or tidal energy, green hydrogen, and off-shore wind, among others.
“Ang anumang mapagkukunan ng enerhiya sa loob ng bansa ay magiging malaking tulong sa mga consumers at sa ating ekonomiya. Ito ay lalong kritikal ngayong nakakaranas tayo ng pabago-bagong presyo ng enerhiya na maaaring makapigil sa paglago ng ating ekonomiya,” Gatchalian added.